Sex Roles

, Volume 16, Issue 9–10, pp 473–487

Qualitative differences among gender-stereotyped toys: Implications for cognitive and social development in girls and boys

  • Cynthia L. Miller
Article

Abstract

Although it has been suggested that the early play experiences of girls and boys may contribute to gender differences in cognitive and social development, empirical support for this hypothesis is limited. This paper reports the development of a system of toy classification and may permit a more programmatic investigation of this problem. One hundred adult subjects rated 50 children's toys on 12 “functional” dimensions. Results showed that these toys could be reliably described according to multidimensional similarities and that toys considered appropriate for girls differed in many ways from those considered appropriate for boys. Thus this system may allow us to test more systematically the hypothetical relationship between sex-typed toy play and the development of differential cognitive and/or social skills in girls and boys.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Block, J. H. Another look at sex differentiation in the socialization behavior of mothers and fathers. In J. Sherman & F. L. Denmark (eds.), Psychology of women: Future directions of research. New York: Psychological Dimensions, 1979.Google Scholar
  2. Block, J. H. Psychological development of female children and adolescents. In P. W. Berman & E. R. Ramey (Eds.), Women: A developmental perspective. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Mental Health, 1982.Google Scholar
  3. Bradbard, M. R. Sex differences in adults' gifts and children's toy requests at Christmas. Psychological Reports, 1985, 56, 969–970.Google Scholar
  4. Bruner, J. S. The ontogenesis of speech acts. Journal of Child Language, 1975, 2, 1–19.Google Scholar
  5. Busby, L. J. Defining the sex-role standard in commercial network television programs directed toward children. Journalism Quarterly, 1974, 51, 690–696.Google Scholar
  6. Cherry, L. The preschool teacher-child dyad: Sex differences in verbal interaction. Child Development, 1975, 46, 532–535.Google Scholar
  7. Child, I., Potter, E., & Levine, E. Children's textbooks and personality development. An exploration in the social psychology of education. Psychology Monographs, 1946, 60, 3.Google Scholar
  8. Connor, J. M. & Serbin, L. A. Behaviorally based masculine and feminine preference scales for preschoolers: Correlates with other classroom behavior and cognitive tests. Child Development, 1977, 48, 1411–1416.Google Scholar
  9. DeLucia, L. A. Toy preference test: A measure of sex-role identification. Child Development, 1963, 34, 107–117.Google Scholar
  10. Eisenberg, N. Sex-typed toy choices: What do they signify? In M. B. Liss (Ed.), Social and cognitive skills: Sex roles and children's play. New York: Academic Press, 1983.Google Scholar
  11. Fagot, B. I. Sex differences in toddlers' behavior and parental reaction. Developmental Psychology, 1974, 10, 554–558.Google Scholar
  12. Fagot, B. I., & Patterson, G. R. An in vivo analysis of reinforcing contingencies for sex-role behaviors in the preschool child. Developmental Psychology, 1969, 1, 563–568.Google Scholar
  13. Fein, G. Johnson, D., Kosson, N., Stork, L., & Wasserman, L. Sex stereotypes and preferences in the toy choices of 20-month-old boys and girls. Developmental Psychology, 1976, 14, 527–528.Google Scholar
  14. Liss, M. B. Learning gender-related skills through play. In M. B. Liss (Ed.), Social and cognitive skills: Sex roles and children's play. New York: Academic Press, 1983.Google Scholar
  15. Margolin, G., & Patterson, G. R. Differential consequences provided by mothers and fathers for their sons and daughters. Developmental Psychology, 1975, 11, 537–538.Google Scholar
  16. Meyer, W., & Thompson, G. Sex differences in the distribution of teacher approval and disapproval among sixth grade children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 1956, 47, 385–396.Google Scholar
  17. O'Brien, M., Huston, A. C., & Risley, T. R. Sex-typed play of toddlers in a day care center. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 1983, 4, 1–9.Google Scholar
  18. Parten, M. B. Social play among preschool children. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1933, 28, 136–137.Google Scholar
  19. Peretti, P. O., & Sydney, T. M. Parental toy choice stereotyping and its effects on child toy preference and sex-role typing. Social Behavior and Personality, 1985, 12, 213–216.Google Scholar
  20. Piaget, J. The origins of intelligence in children. New York: International University Press, 1952.Google Scholar
  21. Rubin, K. H. The social and cognitive value of preschool toys and activities Canadian Journal of Behavioural Sciences, 1977, 9, 382–385.Google Scholar
  22. Saario, T. N., Jacklin, C. N., & Tittle, C. K. Sex role stereotyping in the public schools. Harvard Educational Review, 1973, 43, 386–416.Google Scholar
  23. Scheffman, J. H. The effects of individual and group play experiences on preschoolers' perspective-taking, referential communication, and number conservation abilities. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, 1981.Google Scholar
  24. Serbin, L. A., & Connor, J. M. Sex-typing of children's play preference and patterns of cognitive performance. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 1979, 134, 315–316.Google Scholar
  25. Serbin, L. A., Connor, J, M., Burchardt, C. J., & Citron, C. C. Effects of peer pressure of sex-typing of children's play behavior. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 1979, 27, 303–309.Google Scholar
  26. Serbin, L. A., O'Leary, K. D., Kent, R. N., & Tonick, I. J. A comparison of teacher response to the preacademic and problem behavior of boys and girls. Child Development, 1973, 44, 796–804.Google Scholar
  27. Sherman, J. A. Problem of sex differences in space perception and aspects of psychololgical functioning. Psychological Review, 1967, 74, 290–299.Google Scholar
  28. Sprafkin, J. N., & Liebert, R. M. Sex-typing and children's television preferences. In G. Tuchman, A. K. Daniels, & J. Benet (Eds.), Hearth and home: Images of women in the mass media. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  29. Sprafkin, C., Serbin, L. A., Denier, C., & Connor, J. M. Sex-differentiated play: Cognitive consequences and early interventions. In M. B. Liss (Ed.), Social and cognitive skills: Sex roles and children's play. New York: Academic Press, 1983.Google Scholar
  30. Sternglanz, S. H., & Serbin, L. A. Sex role stereotyping on children's television programs. Developmental Psychology, 1974, 10, 710–715.Google Scholar
  31. Tukey, J. W. Comparing individual means in analysis of variance. Biometrics, 1949, 5, 99–114.Google Scholar
  32. Winer, B. J. Statistical principles in experimental design. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962.Google Scholar
  33. Women on Words and Images, Channeling children. P. O. Box 2163, Princeton, N. J., 1976.Google Scholar
  34. Women on Words and Images. Dick and Jane as victims (rev. ed.). P.O. Box 2163, Princeton, NJ, 1976.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia L. Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Houston—Clear LakeUSA

Personalised recommendations